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Feb-29-2012 20:02printcomments

Contemplating the Effects of OxyContin Suicide

"Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest." Benjamin Franklin


(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - This week I met with a dad whose young, adult son was prescribed OxyContin for a foot injury as a result of a car accident. I will call the son "David". David was every parent's dream -- handsome, smart, successful and his dad's best friend.

As happens too frequently in the saga and destruction of human life while taking OxyContin, David became addicted to the drug. I sat across from this dad who dearly loved his son and went through his life savings to get help for David. It was to no avail. Below is the suicide letter that David wrote his mom and dad. It is heartrending. Unfortunately, David is not the only victim of OxyContin who wrote a letter similar to this note, shown below.

I am calling David's letter -- "Every parent's nightmare" and addressing it to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for their total lack of attention to the prescription drug epidemic -- in particular OxyContin. Over the years, the FDA sent approximately 11 letters to the maker of OxyContin - Purdue Pharma - chastising them for their marketing tactics in pushing the drug for any type pain as well as referring to it as less likely to be addictive or abused. Did it do any good? Keep reading and you determine how inattentive the FDA is to this national crisis.

Click to see full-size letter

In May 2007, Purdue Pharma and CEO, Michael Friedman, Head General Counsel, Howard Udell and Chief Medical Officer, Paul Goldenheim, MD each pleaded guilty to misleading physicians and patients by claiming OxyContin was less likely to be addictive or abused than other narcotics. Purdue Pharma had obtained FDA approval to push legal heroin and advertised it to the country as safer than other painkillers.

These offenses occurred between 1995, when the FDA approved OxyContin to be placed on the market, and 2001, when Purdue faced regular, public criticism and cut the “reduced-risk” marketing. During those years, OxyContin made Purdue Pharma $2.8 billion in profits. As Purdue championed the safety of its drug and watched the money pile up, the DEA said the number of deaths related to OxyContin rose 400 percent, and the annual number of OxyContin prescriptions increased nearly 20-fold.

“The damage to the public from these white-collared drug pushers surely exceeds the collective damage done by traditional street drug pushers,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the director of the health research group at Public Citizen, at the time of the trial.

The ever diligent FDA realizes we are in a homeland security crisis and they institute a study a couple of years ago called REMS. Below is right off the FDA website:

Update on Implementation of Opioids REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy)

"After notifying the sponsors of long-acting and extended-release (LA/ER) opioid drugs that they were required to submit a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS), FDA has been working with the sponsors that market these products on the required REMS. The central component of the Opioid REMS is an education program for prescribers (e.g., physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) so that LA/ER opioid drugs can be prescribed and used safely. FDA expects the prescriber training to be conducted by accredited, independent continuing education (CE) providers, without cost to the healthcare professionals, under unrestricted grants to accredited CE providers funded by the sponsors."

So a pharmaceutical company -- Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin -- responsible for the death and addiction of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. and Canada is asked by the watchdog agency (FDA) for the American people to submit a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy. This is the best the FDA can come up with as prescription drugs ravage our country?

It has nothing to do with prescribing and safety use - it has to do with a dangerous drug -- a synthetic heroin -- being mass manufactured to find its way onto the streets -- and it being prescribed for moderate pain when FDA approval in 1995 was the drug to be used for cancer patients in severe pain.

Isn't it time the FDA admit they have allowed OxyContin to destroy lives because of their alliance with the pharmaceutical company? If the maker of OxyContin lied about the dangers of the drug and the end result is a tsunami of addiction of death in every state in the country, why would the FDA even consider letting Purdue Pharma submit a REMS.

Next week I will be writing an article about the "Stop Oxy Abuse Act" introduced last year by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, of California and a video of Kentucky's Congressman Hal Rogers frustration at a Hearing on OxyContin while he listened to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, head of the FDA show her allegiance to the drug maker.

I ask every family member affected by the lethal qualities of OxyContin in death and addiction to email pictures of the victims of this legalized heroin to the below heads of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). If an increase in the number of deaths related to OxyContin rising 400 percent does not give cause for the FDA to act responsibility by reclassifying it for severe pain only -- or taking it off the market completely -- maybe seeing the victims of this homeland security holocaust will wake them up. I know I have lost my patience with the FDA, have you?,,

LP -- There is no sound of silence even with a pit fire burning -- it is called peace -- sheer and loving peace, along with faith, strong belief in our journeys, encouragement and our love. You are the best -- I will keep working at taking the title.

_________________________________ Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marianne Skolek
National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
Staff Writer,

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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You are the shill July 19, 2014 11:07 pm (Pacific time)

Classic blame shifting. Sorry for your loss but I don't know if you are trying to make $$ off the death of your child or what. On second thought it appears as if you already have. For you to call someone else a shill is incredibly ironic. I was preparing a comment with a whole different tone before I read you calling anyone that disagrees with you a shill. I wish people like you could spend one week in the shoes of a chronic pain patient. To some people these medications make their life worth living. Without pain management, including oxycontin, I would have killed myself long ago. Do you know how lonely chronic pain is? Do you know how much worse it is for someone to be actively trying to make a medication you think is vital to living a normal life illegal? Are you prepared to come to terms with the lives you would ruin if you got your way? I'm sorry you lost a had to be very hard. But when it comes to you trying to pull the rug out from under people in legitimate pain, you are a horrible person. -Not a shill.

EZE June 7, 2012 9:22 am (Pacific time)

I know 4 people that have committed suicide in the last few years. All of them were addicted to Oxycontin. I think it should be removed from the market. There are other ways to treat and manage pain.

Nancy May 9, 2012 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

I am a sufferer of severe chronic pain. I have a connective tissue disorder that is genetic and incurable. If not for opioid medication, I would KILL MYSELF from constant, debilitating pain. Because of stories like this, it is harder and harder for people like me to find treatment for pain, the war is on chronic pain patients....not drugs.

r Dan March 6, 2012 4:56 pm (Pacific time)

Marianne thank you for being a powerful voice for the tens of thousands who no longer can speak for themselves.Also for the millions of us horribly effected by this oxycontin epidemic.This epidemic has caused a division of this country.We have people who need and should have what they need for cancer and severe chronic pain.But do you think that your children or grandchildren should be prescribed this super powerful opiate for a toothache or broken bone.If not for sheer greed by this criminally convicted company and three board members this American Made Epidemic would not exist.And please if you have this heroin in a pill in your home treat it like it is a loaded gun.One bullet can kill.One oxycontin can kill also.Remember these criminals are similar to the addicts they created.An addict will do what it takes at all costs to get oxycontin.Purdue Pharma and their crew of convicts will do whatever it takes to maximize profets.

Susan March 1, 2012 6:37 pm (Pacific time)

Most of the people getting hooked on this drug are not getting it from their doctor nor did they start using it because they were prescribed the medication. They graduated from other drugs to this drug. It is absolutely not the drug companies fault. This drug is needed for many people who are in pain and when taken as prescribed it is safe. I'm tired of people blaming the drug companies for their children's addiction. I am the parent of an opiate addict and I do not blame the drug company at all. My child did many different drugs before trying this one.

Editor: This comment is so ridiculous that I hardly carried it, this is a DRUG COMPANY rep and absolutely full of baloney.  Sure, kids steal this stuff from their parents, but to suggest the drug companies are not at fault when they spend billions advertising, saturating our televisions with self-prescribing suggestions, then the doctors are constantly overwhelmed by pharma reps peddling their poison, forget it, this is foul and obscene and outwardly disrespectful to the suffering and the dead, the majority of whom became hooked via prescription, since most doctors can't or don't prescribe harmless medical marijuana, they give them opium-based drugs like OxyContin and this, from a company, Purdue, whose top officials are all felons, convicted in federal court (with the help of our incredible writer Marianne Skolek) of felonies for having marketed this drug as both 'non-lethal' and 'non-addictive' to doctors, and let's not give them too much credit, a lot of people are in the medical profession for the money and they could give a shit about their patients, Now go fix your kid's problem, oh wait.... you are a shill, I forgot for a second.. Too bad the parents that had to bury their kids have no such luxuries. 

Tonya Roberts March 1, 2012 5:12 pm (Pacific time)

They then treat oxycontin addiction with methadone. There were 5500 methadone related deaths in 2007and methadone is also highly addicting. When will this nightmare end?

Marianne Skolek March 1, 2012 1:01 pm (Pacific time)

And you would be wrong -- it is the drug company fault. Purdue Pharma maker of OxyContin peddled the drug aggressively to physicians and patients as less addictive than other narcotics. That's why they were criminally convicted and pleaded guilty to charges against them. And that is why we have the epidemic in this country of OxyContin.

stephen March 1, 2012 8:49 am (Pacific time)

Oxycotin kills tens of thousands and is legal. Marijuana kills none, and is proven to fight all kinds of ailments and diseases and is illegal(pharma cant patent an herb) about 1984... And because of my volunteer work, I have learned more. When a person gets addicted to oxycotin, they find it too expensive, so guess what? Yep, they switch to potent and cheap heroin, compliments of the military industrial complex ordering the troops to guard the poppy fields in afghanistan, thus, flooding the world with cheap and potent heroin..Then, they make heroin illegal,users get caught and go to the pay-for-profit prisons. With long sentences, thanks to the bribes the judges receive..What a country eh?

Anonymous March 1, 2012 8:03 am (Pacific time)

I think that its not the drug companines fault that the doctors don't know who to prescribe cII medicines to...CII in itself means that it is highly addictive, so the doctors should be aware of that and be careful who they prescribe to.

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